Mikayla Clements
Philosophy 115
April 8, 2017
Violation of Nonhumane Entitlements due to Captivity
It is said that to protect wildlife, we need to be educated about the wildlife that in habits our planet. As humans, we put exotic animals, aquatic and terrestrial, in zoos or aquariums where people can go to see them to learn more about them to protect them. It just so happens that , by putting these animals into captivity, we are causing more damage to them, just as damage is occurring in the wild and more species are becoming extinct. Animals should not be held in capt ivity; this deprives t hem of living decent and dignified lives.
The first zoo in the United States was established in 1874 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia zoo first only had 813 animals but has grown today to have 1,300 animals, still having the same forty-two acres as it did when it first opened. Today there are zoos in almost every major city across the country and even more around the world. But along with zoos, there are marine parks and aquariums (National Geographic).
The most famous marine park is SeaWorld, which has three different locations in the nation: Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio. Zoos and aquariums were first brought about to learn about the species th at we live with on this planet, to be educated about the wild creatures who are so different from ourselves. Zoos and the caging of wild animals have been around for centuries. T here is evidence from Egypt of rulers having wild animal s as pets, locking them in cages. Today, zoos are used for education to teach people about wild animals so that we can learn ways to conserve the planet and the animals' habitats, to prevent more animals from becomin g extinct. Due to humans killing animals , loss of habitat and global warming, more and more species have been going extinct. The goal of every zoo, aquarium, reserve, and marine park is to bring awareness of the need that the wildlife needs saving (National Geographic) . Most extinctions are caused by humans. With our ever-growing need to explore the planet, we have taken control of numerous species' habitats and thus they die off since they have nowhere to go and are unable to adapt to new environments. Wars we have waged have also destroyed habitats, not to mention the hunting and poaching that occurs for furs, tusks, and other animal parts that can potentially be bought for a lot of money. According to Maratha Nussbaum's Capabilities approach animals are entit led to a flourishing life and dignified life. By destroying their habitats this is a direct violation of their entitlements such as control over ones enviroment. Nussbaum discusses that we should have respect for animal's habitats whether that is domestic or in the wild. (Nussbaum 400). At zoo s or animal park s , you will hear the staff talking about conservation of wildlife numerous times because that is their overall message they are trying to reach people. The y are trying to educate people so they can save these animals. (Gruen 132-140 ) For example, at SeaWorld, before watching the whale show, they give a presentation about how whales need to be preserved, saying that we should save the oceans so that the orca species can live on for many years to come. But what do whales jumping out of a pool have do with saving the oceans?
Scientists, zoologists, and the staff at zoos all agree that by keeping species in captivity, the species is benefiting from it. For some species, captivity is the only reason why their species is surviving. For example, the number of tigers that are owned by private individuals is much higher than the population of tigers that ar e in the wild (Mason et al 115-1125 ). This loss of population is due to destruction of habitat and hunting of the tigers for their fur. Having a higher population in captivity is not only true for tigers but also for the golden coin turtles, As ian elephants, and orangutans.
Some of the animals kept in zoos and reserves are those who